Holmes enjoying her retirement

Holmes enjoying her retirement


Florine Holmes grew up in East St. Louis, Ill., learning to cook from her mother, Armintie Moore. Born late in the year and starting school later than her peers, at the age of six, she found herself spending her days soaking up her mother’s wisdom in the kitchen.

“My mother was an excellent cook,” Holmes said. “I was in her way and would stay under her feet trying to learn. She would throw biscuits at me trying to get me to leave the kitchen, but I wouldn’t leave so she taught me how to cook.”

Under her mother’s guidance, Holmes mastered cooking a variety of vegetables, from peas to string beans, corn, and fried corn. She also honed her skills in baking, frying, boiling, and grilling chicken.

By the time she married Wendell Holmes Sr. in 1977 and relocated to Philadelphia, Holmes was well-versed in the culinary arts. The couple have since raised three sons, Wendell Jr., Justin, and Jeremy, and have eight grandchildren.

“My sons love for me to make peach cobbler,” Holmes said. “That’s their favorite when they come home. They have to have a peach cobbler.”

She also enjoys making meatloaf served with string beans and creamy potatoes, as well as Philadelphia Cream Cheese pound cake, caramel cakes, and sweet potato pies for her family. 

Having retired from Cadence Bank after a 42-year career in banking, Holmes now dedicates her time to community involvement. She serves as the vice president of the Philadelphia-Neshoba County Arts Council and is an active member of Jerusalem Temple Church.

“I’m just enjoying life, trying to be a witness for Christ where I am, and let my light shine,” she exclaimed. 

Holmes said her best dish is salmon with baked sweet potatoes and string beans or a fresh green salad. She occasionally indulges in frying fish and chicken outdoors once or twice a month.

For holidays and family gatherings, she pulls out all the stops, preparing homemade cornbread dressing, roasted turkey, ham, rice casserole, pecan pies, fried corn, ribbon salad, and seven-layer salad.

Holmes said she relies on quality cookware brands like Cordon Bleu, along with essential tools like Pampered Chef spatulas and spoons, and sturdy potholders. She also meticulously plans her meals in advance ensuring all ingredients are measured and preparations are organized.

“I try to plan my meals the day before, so I know what I’m fixing for tomorrow,” Holmes said. “I always clean my stainless steel after each use.”

With three recipe boxes perfected through trial and error, she takes pride in her ability to bring joy to others through her cooking.

“I really enjoy preparing the table and seeing others enjoy my cooking,” she said. “When people ask for seconds, you know it must be passable.”


1 lb. sausage

1 onion, chopped

1 bell pepper, chopped

5 cups water

1 cup Minute Rice

2 pkgs. Lipton dry chicken soup

8 oz. Cheddar Cheese, grated

Bring water to a boil. While water is boiling brown sausage, onion, bell pepper. Drain fat from sausage. Add rice and boil 10 minutes. Then add chicken noodle soup and cook 10 more minutes. Add sausage to the above and stir in cheese. Mix together well. Pour into casserole dish and bake for 15 minutes at 375 until hot and bubbly.


2 pkg. (2-layer size each) white cake mixes, divided

2 tbsp. (1/2 of 3 oz. pkg.) each Jell-O Raspberry, Orange, Lime, and Berry Blue flavor gelatin

1 1/3 cup Breakstone’s or Knudsen sour cream

1 1/3 cup powdered sugar

1 tub (16 oz.) Cool Whip whipped topping, thawed

Heat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round pans; cover bottoms with parchment. Prepare cake batter from 1 pkg. cake mix as directed on package. Pour half into separate bowl. Add dry raspberry gelatin mix to batter in one bowl; mix well. Stir dry orange gelatin mix into remaining batter. Pour into prepared pans. 

Bake 28-30 min. or until toothpick is inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 15 min.; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Repeat with remaining cake mix and dry gelatin mixes, washing cake pans between uses.

Mix sour cream and sugar in large bowl until blended; gently stir in Cool Whip. Stack cake layers on plate, spreading 1/3 cup Cool Whip mixture onto each cake before covering with next layer. Frost top and side of cake with remaining Cool Whip mixture. Refrigerate 2 hours.


16 oz. pkg. thin spaghetti

1 quart half & half

6 oz. pkg. mozzarella cheese

¼ cup parmesan cheese

½ stick butter

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. seasoning salt

1 ½ white pepper

4-6 mushrooms

1 large tomato

Meat: shrimp, chicken, or crab

(I use all three) 1 pd. each

In skillet add about 3 tables. Oil add meat and stir fry. Add mushrooms when meat is about done and cook about 2 more minutes. Add pasta to boiling water. Cook pasta according to package directions.

In a 3 qt. boiler bring butter and half & half to a slight boil. Stir in seasonings and reduce heat to simmer. Add parmesan and mozzarella cheeses. Stir until cheeses melt.

Drain water from pasta. Add meats. Pour white sauce over pasta and meat. Stir until evenly distributed. Remove from heat. Pasta may be eaten hot or cold. Garnish with sliced tomatoes when ready to serve. 

n Know someone who should be featured as Cook of the Week? Nominate them by emailing the Democrat at jace@neshobademocrat.com.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions